Exciting Things Happening in Sustainability Right Now

Sometimes it feels like all we hear is bad news and negativity, especially when it comes to the state of our planet. While there’s certainly a lot of work to be done, there are a ton of companies and individuals making major changes and in turn, making a huge impact. We’re here to report on some of those positive and exciting initiatives to brighten up your day and provide some tips for you to join in on the fun.

Renewable Energy

In mid-April Chicago became the largest US city to commit to 100% renewable energy. According to the Sierra Club, the windy city has committed to power all of its buildings on clean energy by 2035 and 1,850 city buses by 2040.

If that news isn’t amazing enough for you, Chicago is just one of 120 cities in the US that have joined Ready for 100,a national movement of people working to promote renewable energy across the country. Learn more about this inspiring initiative here.  

Speaking of cities going green, we’re also thrilled  about the new requirement for green roofs on New York City buildings. As of this April, all new residential and commercial buildings in NYC must have roofs with either plants, solar panels, mini wind turbines—or a combination of all three, according to dwell.com. What a way to green up the skyline!

Tip: Supporting renewable energy is easier than you thought. You don’t have to install solar panels on your roof or even own a house to get involved. If you live in a state that’s deregulated, it means you have the power to choose what type of energy supply you want to purchase. The providers are called ESCO’s, or energy supply companies, and some of them offer fantastic renewable options that are 100% clean and green! Check out this article for more information on clean energy and contact your utility company—they can help you find  an ESCO that fits your needs.

Plastics

This news isn’t that new, but it’s worth shouting from the rooftops (green ones, we hope). In case you haven’t heard, New York State is banning single use plastic bags starting March 2020. No stores will be allowed to offer plastic bags that are not biodegradable and therefore a major source of waste. Furthermore, New York’s City Council also passed a bill that tacks on a 5 cent fee for a paper carryout bag. The hope is to discourage consumers from single-use bags all together, making reusable bags a way of life.

Other big news from a few months ago—California became the first state to ban full service restaurants from giving out plastic straws. Patrons can still get one, but only if they request it. This is amazing progress and we’re not sure the story really got the press it deserved! Some restaurants have even taken it a step further and banned straws all together. They still offer paper or alternative eco-friendly materials but no plastic allowed! Some are even deciding to sell stainless steel straws as an option for their customers. Save the planet and increase revenue? Sounds like a win-win to us.

Tip: Always be prepared. Even if your state doesn’t ban plastic bags, you can do your part to ensure that you’re not adding to the landfill. Keep a small tote bag with you and carry your own reusable straw. There are some very convenient options available like foldable tote bags and collapsible straws—nowadays, being sustainable is easy!  

Food

Calling all veggie lovers! Meat requires a lot of resources and the production can exhaust our environment a bit. This has sparked many people to change their eating habits in favor of a diet that is more eco-friendly. So, enter vegan fast food! Bet those are words you thought you’d never hear together…but, it’s true!

In early April Burger King announced a partnership with plant-based company Impossible Foods to test out the “Impossible Whopper” at 59 stores in St. Louis, Missouri. Soon they’ll be rolling them out at all 7,000 Burger King locations nationwide. We can’t wait to taste test this bad boy!

Impossible Foods isn’t the only plant-based meat company on the block. Beyond Meat reported they will be going public in early May, making them the first plant-based company to have an IPO. How exciting is that?!

Travel

Living a low waste, sustainable life doesn’t just apply to your day to day…it’s also important when you travel or take a vacation. It’s not as easy to avoid single-use items when you’re on the go and away from home, so being prepared and planning ahead is key. Not only that, but how do you know what hotels are eco-friendly?

The EMA (Environmental Media Association) is a nonprofit organization that works with the entertainment industry to encourage green production in film, tv and events. Now they’ll be handing out their Green Seal of approval to the hospitality industry, measuring qualities like waste and water management as well as renewable energy use.

Tip: Checking if your favorite hotel is eco-friendly is a great place to start when preparing for a vacation or work trip. Some other things you can do in order to reduce your footprint while traveling are to bring your own water bottle, cutlery set and straw. Also consider shampoo, conditioner and soap so you don’t need to utilize the mini single-use bottles most hotels offer.

There are so many exciting things happening right now when it comes to sustainability. Let’s celebrate what companies and organizations are doing and find ways that we too can contribute as individuals. Knowledge is power and the more we know and educate ourselves about sustainability, the better we become for our planet!

Nicole Grossberg
Author: Nicole Grossberg

Nicole Grossberg is a freelance writer with a passion for sustainability and doing her part to save the planet. She’s usually seen with a reusable water bottle, coffee tumbler, or stainless steel straw—no single use plastic allowed! When she’s not writing you can find her at a Yankee game, in the kitchen cooking, curled up with a good book, or drinking iced coffee. She currently resides in Astoria, NY.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *